Dear Sir I took my 81 year old Father to a seafront restaurant and noticed a “Pensioner Specials” board with some really good offers. I ordered my food from the normal menu and asked for a “pensioners special” for my Dad. “The pensioner offers are for the Spanish only,” I was told (apologetically) by the waitress. I asked if this was somewhat racist, but thought the waitress was not the one to berate and as the manager was not there, so I did not make a fuss as I would have liked to.

Unscrupulous or Even Racist Employers?

I started talking to the waitress and she informed me that their staff work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week on a contract that bears no resemblance to the hours they actually work or the pay they actually receive.

The contract says she is a “Trainee” waitress – although she has worked there for five years now. It also states that she works part-time – just four hours per day, six days per week and she does not receive any paid holiday. Spanish law states that employers must pay 14 calendar months salary in a 12 month period (pro-rata if you work less than 12 months per year). Some unscrupulous employers believe that a contract overrides Spanish employment law - how wrong you are! This is by no means an uncommon occurrence I have discovered. If any staff member were to legally challenge their sham contract – they would be fired. It needs someone in higher authority to ensure exploited worker like the one I mention are properly protected and given substantial compensation if they challenge their employer and are sacked as a result.

The employee will discover the reduced national insurance being paid will hit hard when they try to sign-on when their contract ends.

Mark Masters